by Dan Senn
4k Video with Stereo Sound (See sample video)
Duration = 8:57

Habitat was produced at Studio FMEra in Watertown, Wisconsin, USA, completed in June of 2023. The work is comprised of both video and sound improvisations recorded two years apart—the visuals most recently—with each medium subsequently crushed, pinched, extended and sewn together to create a 4k single-channel video within a stereo sound field. The entire work is made from 19th Century brick that had dropped from the north side of the home to Studio FMEra and that of the artist, where they had been arranged as a ground cover sculpture after repairs to the abode were complete. The bricks were made by a work crew  that included Senn’s great grandfather, Phillip Bender, at the Watertown Brick Yards between 1848 and 1922, thus the dedication.

The title, Habitat, was chosen as the filming uncovered the habitat of various bugs that had been, for years, finding their way into the house before repairs were complete. These living things were not visible in the shoot and discovered later while editing. The bricks, of course, were made to build homes for humans and then to shield the same from these insects that so graciously performed for this work.

The six sound tracks for Habitat were made from recordings of two Watertown bricks (see Staking Pains) and a wooden kitchen spoon performed by Senn. These were recorded in Studio FMEra in late 2021 and improvised from striking/scraping/knocking bricks within a stereo field to produce tracks for an Ableton Live Set intended for second generation improvisations (hear Middle Bricks). For Habitat, however, the individual performances are contiguous but for durational, rate or pitch alterations. As the video was similarly improvised and fiddled with, these tracks were chosen to generally match the video section lengths. The tsited to enhance the distinct yet media-blurred rhythms. The contrapuntal interactions between the silent-gestural shifts in the video and the sounded events, are pronounced and linked inextricably in this immersive experience. DS 062923

Note: Prior to this work a series of experimental videos with sound were made in quick succession including Danger Alley, Banana Telegraph, U Garáží and Three Panes. They are all similar in style, temperament and technique.
Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia/fluxus artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx media festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx festivals in Prague. (read more).

Technical Considerations: This is a 4k work and, preferably, should be projected as such. Speakers should sport a 12-15" woofer with a subwoofer useful in larger spaces. A quad-stereo setup is OK and may be effective.